The Liver In Health And Disease

The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. It is located in the right upper part of the abdomen.

  • Produces proteins required by the body.
  • Stores sugar, vitamins and minerals
  • Produces bile, which helps in fat digestion and vitamin absorption
  • Breaks down nutrients from food to produce energy
  • Removes toxins

What happens when the liver becomes diseased?

Inflammation occurs that can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis producing the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Easy Fatigability
  • Weight Loss
  • Poor Appetite

Hepatitis B Is A Major Public Health burden In The Philippines

1 out of 7 adult Filipinos have Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is more common among adults 20 to 49 years of age who comprise the bulk of the workforce.

Hepatitis B Can Lead To Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the Philippines.

Majority of the cases of liver cancer are caused by Hepatitis B infection.

How is Hepatitis B Acquired?

Direct contact with infected
blood and body fluid.

Child birth - from infected mother to child (most common)

Contaminated Needles

Sharing of toothbrushes, razors, nail-clippers, manicure/pedicure essentials

Exposure to blood from needlesticks and other sharp instruments

Contact with open wound of infected person

Unprotected sex with infected partner

Hepatitis B is NOT transmitted through:

  • Ingesting contaminated food or water
  • Breastfeeding
  • Kissing
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Hugging
  • Shaking hands

Acute versus Chronic Hepatitis B

Acute Hepatitis B refers to the early part of the infection when the virus is newly acquired. If the Hepatitis B Virus remains for more than 6 months in the blood it is likely to develop into Chronic Hepatitis B. Persons with Chronic Hepatitis B are at risk for Liver Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer. Your doctor can differentiate whether you are in the Acute or Chronic Phase of Hepatitis B Infection thru simple blood tests.

Acute Hepatitis B

Definition

Hepatitis B Virus found less than 6 months in the blood.

Signs And Symptoms

Flu-like symptoms, yellow eyes and skin and dark urine.

Treatment

Supportive care

Chronic Hepatitis B

Definition

Hepatitis B Virus is found for longer than 6 months in the blood.

Signs And Symptoms

Majority have no symptoms until complications, such as liver failure and liver cancer, occur.

Treatment

A. Supportive care
B. Anti-viral medications, as needed.

Development Of Chronic Hepatitis B Depends On Age Of Exposure

In the Philippines, most persons with Chronic Hepatitis B infection acquire the infection at birth or during early childhood. The outcome of Acute Hepatitis B infection may either be recovery or development of life-long infection or Chronic Hepatitis B.

90% of infected infants will develop Chronic Hepatitis B.

25%–50% of children infected between the 1 -5 years of age will develop Chronic Hepatitis B.

6%–10% of those exposed over 5 years of age will develop Chronic Hepatitis B.

Consequences of Hepatitis B

Detection of Liver Damage as a Result of Chronic Hepatitis B infection

How does your doctor find out if Hepatitis B has caused liver damage?

  • CT SCAN

  • BLOOD TESTS

  • ULTRASOUND

  • TRANSIENT ELASTOGRAPHY (FIBROSCAN®)

  • LIVER BIOPSY

Interpretation of blood test results for Hepatitis B

Treatment of Hepatitis B

  • Effective anti-viral treatment is available for Chronic Hepatitis B.
  • Not everyone with Chronic Hepatitis B needs antiviral medications.
  • Treatment can be in the form of injections or pills.
  • Consultation with a specialist is recommended to determine if treatment is needed.
  • Those who do not undergo treatment still need to follow-up regularly (every 6-12 months) with their doctor. They may need treatment in the future.

Hepatitis B Prevention

Vaccination for Infants

Republic Act 10152 mandates that all infants should receive at least three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine. The first dose should be given within 24 hours of birth (“birthdose”).

Hepatitis B vaccine is provided for free for all infants by the Department of Health. The birth dose is also included in the Newborn Care Package of PhilHealth.

Screening of Pregnant Women

All pregnant women should be screened for Hepatitis B infection. Those who are found to be positive should have their baby vaccinated with Hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIg) together with the Hepatitis B vaccine. Those found negative should be vaccinated if they are negative for the Hepatitis B antibody test ("anti-HBs = NON-REACTIVE").

General Information

Vaccination is recommended to anyone who tests negative Hepatitis B (HBsAg NON-REACTIVE / NEGATIVE) and does not have antibodies to Hepatitis B (AntiHBs NON-REACTIVE / NEGATIVE).

Reminders

You cannot become a blood or organ donor.

You will need to refrain from alcohol use to avoid damage to your liver.

You can receive vaccinations such as the flu vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine or the Hepatitis A vaccine.

Stay healthy with proper diet and regular exercise.

Talk to your doctor before taking medications or supplements.

Hepatitis B in the Workplace

According to the Department of Health DOLE Advisory No. 05, no one should be denied employment or promotion or terminated from employment on the basis of Hepatitis B status alone.

If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace, you can contact us or call the DOLE Hotline 527-8000